Sunday, February 27, 2005

Keyhole

Google acquired Keyhole in October 2004 (as described in this press release), and it looks like they've continued to develop it. It's a portal to a vast archive of satellite imagery (currently over 12 Terrabytes). It makes good use of the power of modern graphics cards to display satellite (and other) images overlayed on height-mapped terrain in realtime: you can zoom in from space and fly through the streets if you want to. In this respect it's similar to NASA's Worldwind, but the data appears to be of higher resolution.

One feature that caught my eye is the ability to drape your own images over the terrain. I can imagine lots of uses for this sort of technology, especially if they let you add push-pins and images programatically.

It will be interesting to see where Google decide to take application, and to see what they do with the obvious synergy with Google Maps.

Friday, February 25, 2005

ITArchitect: Distributed System Designers in Visual Studio Team System

There are some great technical articles on ITArchitect, including an interesting overview of the Distributed System Designers in Microsoft's forthcoming Visual Studio Team System. These design tools let you visualise and configure the layout of a distributed application. There's a more detailed overview on the MSDN site here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

SkyScanner

Skyscanner is a meta search engine that searches the websites of the low-cost airlines and collates the results in useful ways. It's a great example of how data can be harvested from multiple sources on the web, combined and presented to the user in simple but useful fashion. For example, you can look at a specific route such as "Cardiff to Paris" and see how the cost of the cheapest tickets varies over the a given month. Or you can choose a specific date or weekend and look at where you could go on that date. They also provide links to allow you to recheck the prices and book tickets.